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The effect of visual and auditory feedback on adult poor-pitch remediation
Psychology of Music  (IF2.204),  Pub Date : 2021-07-09, DOI: 10.1177/03057356211026730
Jacob Berglin, Peter Q Pfordresher, Steven Demorest

Previous research has led to the hypothesis that poor-pitch singing is the result of a weakness in the auditory/vocal loop. The present study evaluated this hypothesis in a training paradigm that used visual feedback to augment potentially faulty auditory-vocal associations. Following pretest with the Seattle Singing Accuracy Protocol (SSAP), participants were randomly assigned to one of three 20-min training conditions: (1) visual feedback training with auditory doubling, in which participants could both see and hear real-time feedback showing the relationship between their sung pitch and the target, (2) auditory feedback training, where participants relied only on airborne auditory feedback from their own voice, and (3) control training which involved imitation of speech from a foreign language instruction recording. After training, the SSAP was administered again as a posttest measure. There was a general improvement from pretest to posttest across all groups. However, the effect of training was only significant for participants who received visual feedback training, with greater gains in visual training than either of the other conditions. This pattern of results was particularly pronounced for performance on 4-note melodies in the SSAP, in contrast to single pitch matching. Visual feedback may facilitate accuracy by substituting for inaccurate auditory-motor associations. The fact that training, even over a very short time-span, can have significant effects on singing underlines the importance of practice, and supports the hypothesis that singing is a learned skill that can benefit from experience and may not simply reflect an inherited talent.